KANSAS CITY, Mo. – FOX4 was blown away by over 200 entries for this year’s Remarkable Women initiative, all showcasing women with huge hearts who value and help their community, give back generously, and want to make a difference without seeking praise.
During Women’s History Month in March, we’ve featured our four finalists, and we will have a special show on Friday, April 1 to celebrate them. Here are the finalists and links to their stories:
We also wanted to take time to recognize many more deserving of praise who are making a difference in the Kansas City area on a daily basis. FOX4’s Christel Bell and Carrie Hibbeler take time in the video to recognize the following women:
- Claudia Thompson: She received several nominations. She has taught countless kids how to dance in Independence and continues to do so at 80 at Claudia’s Gymnastics & Dance! Those nominating her believe she’s been teaching at least 60 years.
- Norma Thayer: Born in the Philippines, she became a nurse and moved to Saudi Arabia where she met her husband working on a military mission. They relocated to the Kansas City area , and she owns and operates Manila Bay Express, a popular Filipino restaurant. She delivers excess food to older people and those who need it.
- Captain Tracy McCullough: She has worked at the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department for more than 25 years. She was nominated by a juvenile detention officer. She’s been instrumental in the community and within the department, her nominator called her a true hero. She’s retiring this July after many years of service to her community.
- Jennifer Ramirez: She’s an alternative school educator creating innovative ways to help kids learn who have experienced trauma, and may be at risk of not graduating. She created a service learning fundraiser that collected 10,000 non-perishable food items for families in need. She’s also a business owner, operating restaurant El Dorado in Raymore.
- Dr. Linda Jackson: She’s been promoting community health initiatives for underprivileged kids by promoting educational opportunities. She worked worked on the frontlines during the pandemic, and hosted a number of self-funded health fairs. She’s part of the Black Health Care Coalition, Black Nurses Association, and local community watch groups. She also helped to relocate over 500 refuges to the Kansas City area with Jewish Vocational Services.
- Officer Stacey Gareis: She was a KCPD officer for 30 years. After she retired, she helped with the mounted patrol unit. She was the first female to “Pass the Wheel,” meaning she was the first female motorcycle officer for KCPD. She’s delivered bears to kids experiencing trauma and been active in the DARE program that teaches students the dangers of drug abuse.
- Beth Waddle: She’s served a community of people experiencing homelessness and transitional housing through service at nonprofit My Father’s House in Miami county. This program is unlike any other in that area, bridging the gap for the past 16 years.
- Jennifer McCartney: She founded Kansas City Heroes, an organization dedicated to paying it forward. She works with people experiencing homelessness, helps with meals and supplies for people experiencing adversity.
- Juanita Jestila: Three-time cancer survivor who continues to be a light for her family. She’s been involved in cancer research studies and been a “Relay for Life: captain for 20 years, raising thousands of dollars in the fight against cancer.